Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told the Fine Gael parliamentary party that members will have a free vote on the upcoming legislation on abortion.

It was suggested by one member that they should vote unanimously on the issue but others supported the free vote policy.

In March, two Fine Gael TDs, Peter Fitzpatrick and Sean Barrett, voted against the bill to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

The legislation is due to be introduced in mid-July and the Dáil will sit longer into the summer to pass the initial stages.

The Oireachtas Health Committee is also due to sit during the summer holidays to progress the legislation. 

The legislation is expected to be passed by the end of September and abortion services will be introduced in January next year.

New clinical guidelines and regulation for abortion pills will also be introduced in 2019.

Elsewhere, Minister for Health Simon Harris met opposition health spokespeople today for what was described as a "very constructive meeting".

The minister has indicated that some elements to support women may be introduced sooner than 2019, including allowing doctors to refer women to travel to England.

At a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting last night, one member called for the party to adopt a whip on the upcoming legislation.

The party leadership was due to meet individual TDs today.

The vast majority of the party favoured retaining the amendment and 21 Fianna Fáil TDs voted against holding a referendum in March.